Clergy Lead in New Referendum Drive for Gay Marriage Maine

Maine voters will again be asked to vote on marriage equality, next November. As in New York’s victory last week, where the Catholic role was crucial, people of faith will again be playing a crucial role – in favour. Just take a look at this photograph from the campaign launch.

Delivering the application for the citizen initiative to state officials was Pastor Mark Gray, a UMC minister who used to be a follower of conservative talk show hosts Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. But like many other committed Christian leaders, he has changed his mind.  Prominent in the front row are two more men in clerical collars. In other recent news, several hundred New England Methodist pastors (presumable including many from Maine) have signed on to a declaration that they are willing to conduct same-sex weddings in their churches, even in contravention of the UMC book of discipline.

Polls have consistently shown that across the US, support for marriage equality has grown, and is accelerating. Many social conservatives have come to see marriage for all as a conservative value. In Maine, as elsewhere, the religious landscape on the issue has transformed. After a string of unfavourable court decisions, NOM will find it harder to hide the source of their funding. They and the other opponents of marriage will find next year’s ballot a tougher task than that of 2009.

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